1. Upon seeing a friend,1 excuse yourself from the table and go to the restroom — even though you don’t have to use it.

2. Look in the mirror.

3. Really look.

4. Wash your hands.

5. Take a barely white scratchy paper towel from the dispenser2 and wipe your wet hands.

6. Hit the towel dispenser lever three or four more times3 to make sure you have more paper towels than you can possibly use to rub between your two still slightly damp hands while looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror.

7. Walk to the trash.

8. Pause.

9. Look up.

10. Wipe the lever of the paper towel dispenser.

11. Notice the dust on top of the paper towel dispenser.

12. Use the still-damp paper towel and wipe the dust off the top of the dispenser.

13. Pause.

14. Turn.

15. Notice the water you splashed around the sink basin.

16. Wipe the counter and the basin with the still-damp paper towel.

17. Notice the dried water droplets on the mirror.

18. Take the now sopping-wet paper towel and smear the droplets across the mirror.

19. Look at your smeared self in the mirror.

20. Notice the mess you’ve made.

21. Walk back to the paper towel dispenser.

22. Hit the lever two or three times4 until you have a sufficiently wasteful amount of dry paper towels.

23. Re-wipe the mirror.

24. Repeat steps 2 through 24.

- - -

1 Part of the problem is that you use the word “friend” and “acquaintance” interchangeably, for you never really engage in this ridiculous behavior if you are dining with “real friends,” or at least you think to add this disclaimer in the event your friend(s) may read this publication…

2 Lament the cruelty of the restaurant owners when you find yourself in a hand-dryer only restroom.

3 Note this sad wastefulness that occurs simply because you are overly tired of being a good listener, or because your ears hurt from too many people talking too loudly, along with the cacophony of dishes clanking, glasses breaking, interrupting servers, and, the additional sadness of considering your now lukewarm food waiting expectantly at the table for you.

4 More paper towels = more guilt + more time away from the table full of friends, or maybe just one friend/ acquaintance whom you wish you had canceled dinner plans with at the last minute, or learned how to say “no” or “I’m busy” like normal people do so that you don’t have to have dinner with people whom you don’t really like.